Summary: Biblical principles for dealing with conflict - at home, and in God's Family

A House Divided

Intro: 6:30 PM, Monday evening. husband headed home after long Monday at work. Traffic heavy, he's running late. doesn't watch the clock -- just glad the workday is over no matter what time it is. boss was a bear today. secretary was in a foul mood; just learned that he may be w/o a job in 6 months because of corporate downsizing. turns down the street and heads for home; all he wants is to prop his feet up and relax for 10 min. walks up the driveway, in the house he hears his 2 children screaming and crying. "Leave me alone!" "Give it back!" opens the front door; is met with puff of low lying haze; supper has been sacrificed to the oven gods. steps in the front door. In his mind his wife and children were going to meet him there with hugs and kisses to welcome him home from a hard day. Instead, wife meets him with a barrage of questions, "Where have you been? Did you remember to stop for milk on the way home like I asked you? Did you forget about your son's game tonight? We have to leave in 15 minutes and I just burnt supper!"

You can imagine the rest of the evening. The husband has carried a can full of emotional garbage home from a terrible day at work. "No I didn't remember the milk, I was too busy trying to bring home a paycheck." From there the night just gets worse. She's upset that he doesn't appreciate what happens at home; he's mad that home is filled with conflict just like the office. kids are upset that Mom and Dad are upset. night ends with the children in bed and the arguing becomes worse as 2 people each try to justify their feelings and anger. They're in the same bed, but they might as well be in different universes. He thinks he's henpecked; she feels unappreciated. Sound familiar?

I'm convinced, along with most men surveyed, that home needs to be a haven, a safe house from the rest of the world. But for too many families it's the hottest battlefront. I want to take some of the obvious principles of Scripture this morning and apply them to making our homes the haven they should be. Conflict will happen, but how we deal with it makes a difference.

One thing you'll see quickly is that the Bible is as up-to-date as any new marriage seminar or therapist. Don't be shocked by that. The Bible gives good advice because it's God's advice!

I'm well aware that what I am going to share today will fall short of the help that some here today may be in need of when it comes to conflict in your homes. Not everyone who hears this message will have a partner who shares your enthusiasm to solve the conflict in your home. However, I want to point out to you that you can't change someone else, whoever it is. If you have a wife who's obstinate or a husband who blows his stack, this message isn't about how you can change that person. If you listen today and say to yourself, "Tell him, Sherm, he really needs to hear this" or "That's right, Sherm, you hit her right between the eyes," then you haven't heard this message.

This is about you; and me. It's about changes you and I can make in our own life to improve our relationship and our home -- and everywhere else for that matter. In fact, before anyone who is a family of one writes this off this morning, I especially want for you people to listen to this in the context of this place and these people seated right around you this morning ¡V your church family.

-I think you'll also see that these principles of conflict apply in every facet of life. Home is the first place. More than anywhere else, our families need to be the place where we put godly principles into place for handling conflict. The 2nd in line is the Family of God, then somewhere after that comes work, school and our other areas of relationship with others. It's impossible to talk about our homes or our Church family without recognizing the effect one has on the other.

So, take your bulletins, and open them to the ¡§Sermon Notes¡¨ section. I want you to list these 8 biblical principles as we go through this morning's message -- you'll need them at the end.

1. Don't Expect Perfection

-Don't expect perfection in others. Your family isn't perfect - after all, you're in it!

-Rom. 15:1 ƒ² "We who are strong ought to bear the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves"

-We don't live in a perfect world so we have to be realistic enough to realize our family members won't always measure up to our expectations. In fact, sometimes they may fall miserably short of what we hope they'll be. Get used to disappointment.

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